“Content is king”. When this phrase first started gaining momentum around 5 years ago, it felt like horrible PR-speak. Fast forward half a decade and content marketing as a discipline has exploded, cementing itself as a core strand of the communications mix.
In crowded spaces, the pressure is on for brands and organisations to tell their stories through the most engaging content, relevant to their most valuable audiences. Added to that, content can take almost any form – blogs, by-lined articles, user generated content, videos, polls, lists, Q&As, case studies, images, GIFs, infographics, vlogs, data stories, video news releases – the list goes on!
This is nothing new. PR has always been about the creation and promotion of relevant, engaging content; PR practitioners have always been compelling storytellers. But with solid content strategies now needing to be embedded in the communications mix – not offered as a ‘nice-to-have’ – it’s more important than ever to think creatively about working content as smart and as hard as possible.
From the beginning, think about the story you’re trying to tell, then map out the different ways in which it can be told. For instance, your approach may begin with writing a simple news piece, but really, that’s just the beginning…
So you’ve written your news piece as a company blog post. What next? Can you create an infographic of the key stats or points covered? Could you create a video for it – an interview with a key spokesperson or an ‘explainer’ film? Could you write an opinion piece on the same topic, explore it from a different angle? Try to make sure each piece of content complements, rather than repeats, and that each one adds a different layer to your story. Most importantly, don’t be put off if you think your story doesn’t lend itself to visual content – organisations like the Office of National Statistics (@ONS) prove that you can bring to life data-driven news through GIFs, videos and infographics.
Use all of the channels you can to share your content. Don’t forget to post the link to your company Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn channels, and change the link in your Instagram bio to link to your latest post. Does the news warrant a customer e-mail? Could you add a link to it at the bottom of your email footer? Is there a staff intranet that you could post it to? Reach will grow if employees and stakeholders can help you get the word out, too.
Got an old blog post that’s relevant to something you’re working on at the moment? A Tweet that did really well? A speech or report that still has relevance? A video that had good engagement at the time but has been forgotten about? An interesting dataset that’s buried in your website? Recycle, consolidate or serialise – then serve it to your audience as freshly relevant content. And don’t forget to include links to your older, relevant content within your new blog posts – boosting your website’s SEO.
To ‘go viral’ comes down to a mixture of science and luck. This is why it pays to have a bank of content in your toolkit. Experiment with different content types, posting times and channels, and study the data available for free (e.g. Facebook Insights, Twitter Analytics, Google Dashboard) to help you work out what chimes best with your audience. If a certain video, blog post or infographic does start to gain momentum, consider putting some additional spend behind it to boost the reach on social media. The filters and targeting tools available will help you to reach new readers / viewers from within your target audience quickly and easily.
Compiled by Anna Hartt & Jane Cook